About the book:
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...
The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.
This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances -- and her dowry -- Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.
Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.
As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks ... or very real danger?
I've read several books by Julie Klassen, and this is one of her most mysterious and complex. Many characters seem to have secrets, all tied to a murder that happened many years ago. Although Abigail is a level-headed young woman and not a typical treasure hunter, she can't resist the allure of the stories told about her distant relatives and the beautiful home they once occupied but deserted so abruptly. I loved the character of William, the curate, who is kind and hard-working, and manages to see Abigail's good heart under her pleasing looks. His and Abigail's slow-burning romance added to the suspense as many obstacles were in the way. The plot contained many twists and turns, and kept me guessing until the very end. The Secret of Pembrooke Park is a page-turner filled with mystery, interesting characters, and romance. It's a must-read for fans of historical fiction.
About the author:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane -- Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards, Minnesota Book Awards, and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com.
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.